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Unlocking Molecular Secrets

Molecular research at the Garden is increasingly important for understanding and protecting Earth's fragile biodiversity. As laboratory technologies advance, molecular biology is answering long-standing questions about the patterns and processes of the plant kingdom.

The scope of what has been termed "molecular systematics" has changed dramatically in the past decade. Now, in addition to sequencing DNA for information on how organisms are related, Garden scientists also study the evolution of genes themselves, their functions, and an understanding of when and where they are active in different tissues and organs. The goals of these initiatives include addressing evolutionary history, classification, biogeography, character evolution, and patterns of gene expression among plants and fungi.

The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics Studies operates as a joint initiative between The New York Botanical Garden and The American Museum of Natural History. The program supports nearly all forms of molecular research in its newly renovated facilities within the Gardenís Plant Research Laboratory.

The Plant Genomics Consortium at The International Plant Science Center is a collaboration between The New York Botanical Garden, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and New York University. Building on the strengths of each of the three institutions, the Consortium contributes to the creation and dissemination of scientific knowledge in the field of comparative and functional plant genomics, biodiversity, and evolution.

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